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Hbii,.- LLE 

Library of Medicine 


Bethesda, Md. 

U.S. Department of Health, 
Education, and Welfare 



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Mlit.VX imm-l Of MEDICINE 
^- BETHESOA 14, MO. 



The following narrative is designed to 
illustrate the power of true religion to support 
even a child under severe bodily suffering. 
It may be relied upon as an unexaggerated 
relation of facts. 




Catharine Howell was known 
as the "little burnt girl." For many 
long months she endured great suffer- 
ing and pain, and the children of tte 
Sunday-school to which she belonged, 
when they asked about her, called her 
by this name, so that I have thought 
it best to speak of her by the same 
name in this brief memoir. 

Her story is a very short one, but 
it is full of instruction for the young ; 
and the children who knew her, and 
loved her,. showed so much interest 

7 ■ 


in her case that I have been led to 
think other children would read the 
sad tale, and learn a lesson of patience 
under suffering that may do them 
good. When they come to know 
how much this dear child suffered, 
they may learn to be thankful that 
they are not in such distress; and 
when they are afflicted, they may be 
taught that God sends afflictions for 
their good. 

The story of this little burnt girl 
will show those who read it, how it 
is that those things which seem the 
greatest trials, and hardest to be 
borne, are often the greatest blessings 
which God bestows upon us. They 
are meant to lead us to the Saviour 
who suffered for us far more than we 
ever suffer, and who loves to have us 
come to Him for help when we are in 
pain. And it is when our sorrows 


thus leaa us to Him who is able and 
wilhng to show mercy to us, that we 
can say with pious David, " It is good 
to be afflicted." 

This httle girl was born in the city 
of Newark, in the state of New Jer- 
sey, on the twelfth day of February, 
1834. In very early childhood she 
was known among her playmates, and 
especially by her brothers and sisters, 
as a girl of mild and sweet temper. 
She never quarrelled. Though I do 
not know that she ever did exactly as 
a little girl did of whom I was lately 
reading. Her name was Mary. She 
was sitting on the floor playing with 
her brother Corie, and he struck her 
on the cheek. She turned the other 
right up to him, and said, " There, 

This was doing as the Saviour 
said; and if children would do so 


when they are struck by those with 
whom they are playing, there would 
be very little quarrelling. It always 
takes two to quarrel, and it too often 
happens that when one is willing, an- 
other is ready. 

Rut very seldom did Catharine 
Howell give a cross word to one of 
her playmates. Her voice was soft 
and gentle, and her smile was sweet, 
so that she made the children love 
her, when she could not tell why. 

Most children love to have their 
own way. And so do many grown 
people. But Catharine Howell was 
always willing to give up her will, if 
by so doing she could please those 
with whom she was playing. How 
much trouble would be saved in fami- 
lies, if the children had this spirit, nnd 
if, instead of trying to see which 
should beat, they would try to see 


which could yield to the other with 
the most cheerfulness. This was the 
spirit of Catharine, and this ought to 
be the spirit of every child who reads 
her life. 

As soon as Catharine was old 
enough, she was sent to the Sabbath- 
school of the Third Church, in New- 
ark, to which her parents belong. 
And it is at this time that her history 
begins to discover more that should 
interest the young, and lead them to 
imitate her who was taught in that 
' school to know the Lord, so that 
when she was brought so early in life 
to lie down on a bed of death, she 
knew where to look for the Saviour 
of her soul. 

Her mother says that Catharine 
loved much to go to the Sabbath- 
school. On Sunday she was anxious 
to have it pleasant weather that she 


might not be kept at home by the 
rain,»and if any thing happened which 
seemed to make it necessary for her 
to stay at home, she would urge every 
reason she could think of to induce 
her parents to let her go. Yet if they 
still thought it more prudent for her 
to stay at home, or if one of the 
younger children required her atten- 
tion, instead of pouting or fretting 
about it and looking cross, she would 
say, " Mother knows best," and tak- 
ing her little books she would sit 
down pleasantly, and read or talk 
about the school which she loved so 

Other children love the Sunday- 
school. There was a little boy that 
went to the same one that Catharine 
attended. He was taken very sick, 
and it was plain to his friends that he 
was soon to die. On the last Sunday 


of his life he said that he wished he 
could go once more to the school ; but 
as he was too sick even to sit up, of 
course he could not go out ; and when 
it was about time for the school to 
begin, he asked his mother to take 
him to the window that he might 
see the children on their way. She 
wrapped him up in a blanket, and 
carried him in her arms to the win- 
dow, and when he had watched his 
young companions, with their books 
in their hands, going by to school, his 
mother carried him back and laid him 
in bed, and very shortly afterwards 
he died. 

But there is a great difference 
among children about this. Some of 
them seem to care very little about it, 
whether they go or not ; so that if you 
look at the class to which they belong, 
you will miss them once or twice every 


month. If the weather is not just so 
pleasant, or they do not feel perfectly 
well, or their parents have company, 
these children will make an excuse, 
and stay away. Not that they have 
any great dislike to the school, or to 
their teacher, but they do not love to 
go, and so they go or stay away, just 
as it happens. 

Now the Sunday-school does such 
children very little good. You never 
hear of these scholars being much im- 
proved by the instructions they re- 
ceive. They forget all that they 
learn, and when wicked people see 
how careless and thoughtless these 
children are growing up, they spite- 
fully say, " See how much good your 
Sunday-schools do." But those chil- 
dren who love the Sabbath, and the 
school, and their teacher, and the les- 
son, and the library books, they are 


the children vfhofeel what they learn, 
who lay it up in their hearts, and arr 
made better by the blessed privileges 
which the Sabbath-school brings. 

Catharine Howell thought the Sab- 
bath-school was one of the most plea- 
Bant places in the world. She could 
always say, 

« I have been there, and still would go, 
'Tis like a little heaven below." 

A.nd it really seemed sometimes a 
" little heaven," for when the children 
were serious, and then when they all 
engaged in singing some of their sweet 
hymns, it did seem as if God was 
there, and as if they felt his presence 
and power in their hearts. But Ca- 
tharine thought of the blessedness of 
these scenes more when she came to 
be shut up at home with long and dis- 
tressing sickness, and when she was 
confined to her weary bed. Then she 


called to mind the hymns she used to 
sing, and the verses of Scripture which 
she learned, and when she became so 
feeble that she could not hold a book 
in her hand, and her eyes so weak 
that she could not read, it was sweet 
for her to think of the precious truths 
which she had been taught; and I sup- 
pose, that, by thinking of these things, 
she was led to give her heart to God, 
and to believe in the Lord Jesus. 

We come now to speak of the 
dreadful event which happened to this 
dear child, and which gave her the 
name of "the little burnt girl." Dur- 
ing the week, she was in the habit of 
going to a small school in the same 
street where she lived, and close by 
her father's house. 

On the 17th day of February, 1843, 
when she*was just nine years and five 
days old, the sad event occurred. Her 


father and mother were going that day 
into the country to make a visit, and 
Catharine had expected to go with 
them to have the pleasure of a sleigh- 
ride; but something happened to make 
it inconvenient for her parents to take 
her with them, and one of them said 
that perhaps she had better go to 
school before they started, as she 
would feel unpleasantly to see them 
go off without her. 

" O no," said she, " let me stay and 
see you go. I can go with you some 
other time, and that will be just as 

How much better this was, than to 
cry, as many of her age would have 
done, and try to make their parents 
take them along, though it might be 
very inconvenient for them. 

Her parents set off, and Catharine 
watche.d them till they were out of 



sight, for she would have been very 
glad to go and have a ride; but as 
soon as they were gone, she went 
cheerfully for her books, and with a 
light heart set off for school. It was 
early, and there was only one scholar, 
a little boy, in the room when she ar- 
rived. The morning was very cold, 
and the stove was red-hot. The lit- 
tle boy was standing near the stove, 
with his back to it, and he asked 
Catharine, as soon as she came in, to 
show him about his lesson. She 
stepped up by the side of him, to look 
over his book, and as she turned her 
back to the stove, her clothes touched 
it, and in a moment they were in a 
blaze ! 

The little boy could do nothing to 
help her, and they both 'rushed to the 
door, but were, for some time, unable, 
in tlieir fright and hurry, to get it 


open. As soon as they could get 
out, Catharine ran home, but in her 
terror mistaking the house next to 
her father's for her own, she rushed 
In there, and then, finding her mis- 
take, she flew out and ran into her 
own, where her oldest sister caught 
her in her arms, folded a blanket 
around her burnt body, and put out 
the raging flames. 

It will be readily believed, that by 
this time she was awfully burned. 
When a child's clothes take fire, it 
is almost impossible to put out the 
flames before the poor sufferer is 
dangerously burnt, even if it is seen 
the moment it takes place. But here 
the flames had been in progress for 
some minutes before any help was 
found, and they had fastened upon 
the flesh of the poor girl, and made 


dreadful wounds too shocking to be 

Who can tell how great must be 
the anguish of such burns? No one 
who has never felt it can know any 
thing about it; but when we see per- 
sons suffering the agony of a burn, 
we are willing to believe that there is 
scarcely any, perhaps no bodily suffer- 
ing to be compared with it. I re- 
member that when I was a little boy 
I scalded one of my hands so that the 
skin came from off the back of it, and 
though this was many, many years 
ago, I remember distinctly how the 
pain tormented me for hours, as if 
new fire were all the time applied to 
the wound, and it seemed as if I could 
not live, even with that little burn. 
But what was this, compared with 
the torture that Catharine Howell 
must have suffered, when her flesh 


"was burned on her bones, while life 
remains with all its sensitiveness, 
every nerve being awake to the ten 
derest feeling, and the anguish of the 
first moment of pain being repeated 
over and over again, with every te- 
dious hour that wears itself away. 
There is no torture like that of fire. 
So the martyrs found it, when, for the 
sake of Christ and his truth, they gave 
their bodies to be burned. It would 
not be strange if they should some- 
times have shrunk from the stake, 
when they thought of what they must 
suffer. The other day, I asked a little 
boy what he would do if wicked men 
should take him ahd threaten to put 
him to death, unless he would pray to 
a wooden idol as the heathen do. He 
thought a moment, and then answered, 
" Well, if they were going to kill me 
by just cutting my head off, 1 would 


let them do it; but this burning up, — 
I don't know about that!" And 1 
think the boy expressed very nearly 
the feelings of all good children and 
of some good men. We shrink from 
the thought of such long-continued 
anguish, and are glad to find some 
way of escape. But we must never 
do wrong to escape any suffering, 
however long or severe. Children 
sometimes tell lies for fear of being 
punished ! They ought to be willing 
to sufier any thing rather than to sin 
against God. 

And if fire is dreadful for persons 
to bear who have the strength of 
manhood and of mature minds, how 
much more dreadful must it be, in the 
case of such a little child as this, with 
all its tender sensibilities alive to 
pain, to be called to writhe under the 
agonies of such a calamity ! The 


worst burns were on the back of little 
Catharine, and they were so deep and 
painful that she could not lie for a 
single moment on them, and when she 
was laid on her side, she could not 
bear the weight even of a single sheet 
upon her. For some time they held 
the clothes up so that they should not 
touch her, and then her father made 
a light frame to support the covering, 
so that it should not rest on the suf- 
fering child. The kind-hearted doc- 
tor did all he could to relieve her 
pains, and it was doubtless owing to 
bis watchful attention and skill, and 
the tender care she received from her 
parents and sisters, that (with the 
blessing of God on their efforts) her 
life was spared so long after the event 
took place. 

What a blessing it is to have friends 
to care for us when we are sick ! How 


thankful should children be that God 
gives them parents to watch over them 
in their helpless infancy, and through 
the days and nights of sickness and 
distress which they are called to en- 
dure! Many children die for the want 
of this very care which you would have 
if you should be taken sick, or meet 
with such an accident ; and there art 
thousands of parents among the hea- 
then who throw their children away 
to starve and die, or put them to death 
by burying or beating them, as soon 
as they are born. 

In the same Sabbath-school to 
which Catharine Howell belonged, 
there is a little girl who was taken by 
her father when she was a few months 
old and laid upon a log, and just as" 
he was going to pound her to death 
with a club, a kind-hearted woman 
came along, and begged him to spare 


the child, and she would take it and 
bring it up. He gave her the child, 
and she carried it home with her and 
fed it; and the child lived. This 
was in China. The little child was 
brought to this country, and is now 
adopted as one of the children of a 
pious family in Newark, N. J. 

How wonderful are the ways of 
Providence! Instead of being born 
in the midst of such cruelty as pre- 
vails in China and other heathen lands, 
and instead of having parents who 
care nothing about their children but 
to get rid of them as soon as they 
can, you have those who look upon 
you as their greatest treasure, and 
would suffer for you, rather than that 
you should suffer. You ought to love 
your parents tenderly, and try to make 
them happy; but you will never do 


for them half so much as they have 
done for you. 

When Catharine Howell was first 
burned, we all thought that she could 
live but a very short time. The doc- 
tor could give no encouragement in 
her case, for the wounds were so deep, 
and she was naturally of such a deli- 
cate and feeble frame, that every one 
supposed she must soon sink into the 
grave. But in great mercy God was 
pleased to order it otherwise, that the 
sore trial might be sanctified to her 

As soon as the pastor of the church 
at which Catharine attended heard of 
the accident, he called to see her, and 
whenever she was able ' to converse, 
he endeavoured to turn her thoughts 
to those truths which seemed to be 
the most important in view of her ap- 
proaching death. Her Sabbath-school 


teacher and others visited her, and 
very many were the prayers offered up 
for her, by those who heard of the sore 
affliction. The children of the school 
were greatly affected when they heard 
of it, and we prayed for little Catha- 
rine at the opening of every school 
for many weeks, though we thought 
on each Sabbath, that before another 
week passed she would be far beyond 
the reach of our prayers. 

As it is now two years since these 
events occurred, and no notes were 
made at the time of the conversations 
with her, I cannot give the swords 
which she used when we talked with 
her about the state of her heart, and 
her views about dying. But I remem- 
ber, with great distinctness, the nature 
of her feelings, and I can trace the 
various steps by which she was led 
(as we hope) to embrace the Saviour. 


Perhaps the reading of it may lead 
other children to follow in her steps, 
till they find the pardon of their sins 
and the salvation of their souls. 

At first she did not like to hear 
any thing said about death, or even 
on the subject of religion. This 
seems very strange in the case of a 
little girl who had loved to go to Sun- 
day-school, and to read the Bible and 
other good books. Such a child, we 
should think, would love to talk of 
God and heaven and her immortal 
soul. And especially if she were laid 
on a bed of sickness, and apparently 
about to die, it v^^ould be expected 
that she would want some one to sit 
down by her and tell her what she 
must do to be saved. 

But her unwillingness to hear of 
Christ and the way to heaven, shows 
that her hear_t was not right ; that she 


was still in a state of sinfulness, and 
of course unprepared to meet God in 
judgment. All the sweet, pleasant 
things we had seen in her while she 
was in health, her gentle disposition, 
her kindness to her brothers and sis- 
ters, her winning ways and words, 
would have been of no avail, if she 
had never loved the Lord Jesus 
Christ, nor taken any pleasure in 
hearing of his love for dying sinners. 
Yet she thought sometimes that she 
loved him because he died on the 
cross, but when we came to talk 
plainly with her, it was evident that 
she had no interest in him as her 

" She had not been long confined be- 
fore she was brought to see and to 
feel that she had a wicked heart. 
For some weeks her bodily sufferings 
were so severe that it was impossible 


for her to think of any thing else. 
The pain was constant; and when- 
ever her wounds were dressed, which 
was very often, the anguish was so 
terrible that it seemed sometimes as 
if the little sutferer must die under the 
torture. When these dreadful opera- 
tions were to be performed, she had 
to be taken out of bed and laid across 
her mother's knees, and so keenly 
did the sweet child suffer, and so long 
did the operation continue, that when 
she was again placed on her cot, she 
would be so exhausted with suffering, 
that it was difficult to tell whether 
she was dead or alive. 

The first time that I saw her after 
she was burnt, she was in this state 
of stupor, and she looked just as if 
she were dead ; and it would not have 
been in the least degree strange if she 
had never revived. 


By degrees the keenness of the an- 
guish wore away, and the wounds 
healed a little around the edges, so 
that she could lie in the bed with less 
distress ; and perhaps she became ac- 
customed, in some measure, to her 
situation, though it sounds strangely 
to talk of being accustomed to such 
misery as she was called to endure. 
It is hard for older people to learn 
patience, under such trials, and some 
never do. But how much harder 
must it have been for one so young 
and tender, to be patient in the midst 
of such sore distress ! 

It was one of our first efforts to 
lead her to look upon herself as a sin- 
ner in the sight of a holy God, and 
the great burden of our prayer was, 
that the Holy Spirit would convince 
her of sin, and thus prepare the way 
for her to be led by the same Spirit 


to sincere repentance. And it was a 
delightful proof of the value of early 
religious instruction, that she could so 
readily understand the truth which 
was now urged upon her mind, and 
could see the necessity of that change 
of heart which her pastor and others 
insisted on as necessary to her salva- 
tion. It is very difficult to make 
those who have had no early know- 
ledge of the Scriptures, feel the im- 
portance of the simplest truths of the 
gospel; and though they have always 
lived in a Christian land, and have 
heard the gospel a thousand times, 
yet their ignorance of what they must 
do to obtain eternal life is wonderful. 
In this respect, as well as in many 
others, Sabbath-schools have been 
of inestimable value to multitudes, 
who, without them, might have grown 
up in sin, and died unprepared to meet 


God, and that with the light of the 
gospel all around them. 

One evening I sat down by the side 
of Catharine's little cot, and as she 
looked up to me with a sweet smile in 
the midst of her pain, I could not re- 
frain from a tear of sympathy. She 
said she was so glad I had come ; she 
had been hoping all day that I would 
come and see her. After a little talk 
of this kind, I said to her, 

" Catharine, my dear, when you 
think of ypur Heavenly Father who 
has done so much for you, and given 
his Son to die on the cross for poor 
sinners, how does it make you feel ?" 

" I feel," said she, " as if I had 
been very wicked." 

" So you have, my dear child ; 
though you have read your Bible ever 
so much, and said your prayers ever 
BO often, if you have not loved God 


with all your heart, — yes, more than 
you love any thing and every thing 
else, — you are not prepared to die." 
I then said, 

" Do you think, Catharine, thai 
God has done right in letting you 
suffer all this dreadful pain ?" 

" yes," said she, " I have been 
such a wicked girl." 

" And do you feel," I said, '« that it 
would be all right if God should let 
you die in your sins?" 

She said nothing for a moment, 
but was evidently much troubled, and 
on my repeating the question, she an- 

" Yes, but I want to be good, and 
go to heaven." 

" I pray that God will make you 
good, and fit you for heaven. But 
you know that unless you feel sorry 
for the sins of your past life, and ask 


God to forgive all that you have done 
wrong, you can never go to heaven 
and be happy among the angels, and 
the good who are there." 

She said she had been thinking 
about her wicked heart, and she 
wanted God to make it good, so that 
she might love him ; and she told me 
that often when they thought she was 
asleep, she was praying to God to 
forgive her sins and prepare her to 
meet him in heaven. 

Every time we saw her, the more 
willing she appeared to be to talk 
about her soul, and her interest in 
the subject of religion seemed to in- 
crease day by day. 

Her mother would find her in tears, 
and, on asking her if she felt any new 
oain from her dreadful sores, little 
Catharine would tell her that it was 


not the burns that made her cry — it 
was her wicked heart — and she want- 
ed to have it changed that she might 
love God. She took great delight in 
hearing books read to her which give 
accounts of children who were early 
led to the Saviour, and she was al- 
ways pleased when one of the family 
could sit down and read the Bible to 
her. There was one little book that 
pleased her very much, and I think 
greatly assisted her in learning the 
way in which a child should come to 
Christ. It was the memoir of a little 
boy in New Jersey, who was in sick- 
ness brought to see his need of a Sa- 
viour, and who gave precious evidence 
that he was truly converted to God. 
Catharine Howell was confined to 
that cot eight months, without strength 
to turn herself, and all this time she 


was unable to lie on her back. And 
oh ! how long and wegiry must those 
days and weeks and months have 
seemed to that little sufferer. It 
would not have been strange if she 
had become very peevish and discon- 
tented when she thus lingered along, 
scarcely growing any stronger, and 
having very little hope of ever get- 
ting well. But the greatest anxiety 
that she ever expressed about her sick- 
ness was, that she could not go to 
Sunday-school. She did long to be 

* able to go again, and enjoy the plea- 
sures which had been so sweet to hei 
in the sunny days of her health, but 
which she expected never to se« 
again. Yet she was submissive. In- 
deed the more she suffered the more 
quiet she became, so that it was ? 

. comfort to those who waited on her, 


to see the mild and pleasant spirit 
with which she bore her long con- 
tinued affliction. 

This was a great relief to the pa- 
rents of Catharine, but who can tell 
how much a mother must undergo, 
who nurses a sick child, and espe- 
cially such a sufferer as this ? There 
is no love on earth like that with 
which a mother watches over a sick 
child. Day after day, and night after 
night she ministers to its numberless 
wants, with sleepless care, trying a 
thousand little arts which none but a 
mojther ever thinks of, to soothe its 
pains, to recover its health, or smooth 
its passage to the tomb. I have 
known a mother to sit four weeks, 
night and day, by the bed of a sick 
child, and never leave it but for a 
minute or two at a time, silently and 


devotedly watching the progress of 
disease, and seeking by faithful and 
tireless love to arrest the hand of the 
destroying angel. Children never 
know, and seldom stop to think how 
much they owe their parents, and 
never can they pay them for the half 
of what they have received in infancy, 
in sickness, and through all the way- 
wardness of childhood and youth. 
A mother suffers in one night of 
anxiety with a sick child, more than 
that child is likely to suffer for the 
mother in all its future life. 

In speaking of the care which 
Catharine received at the hands of 
her parents, I am reminded of the 
tenderness with which she was treat- 
ed by her brothers and sisters, of 
whom there was a large family. 
They remembered how kind she was 


to them when she was well, and how 
much she had always tried to please 
them, and they loved her dearly and 
strove to see which should be the 
most faithful in waiting upon her, or 
reading for her, or talking to her now 
that she was sick. 

Children should learn to be quiet 
and land when there is sickness in 
the house. Then they are prevented 
from enjoying many of their noisy 
plays, and are often tempted to sports 
that may disturb the sufferer. They 
should think how they would like to 
be treated if they were sick, and re- 
member that very soon they may be 
on the same bed. It is a good rule 
everywhere and always, to do unto 
others as we would have them do to 

Toward the latter part of the eight 


months I have mentioned as the first 
period of Catharine's confinement to 
the bed, her mind seemed to be more 
clearly exercised than it had been be- 
fore, on the nature and effects of sin, 
and the great willingness of the Sa- 
viour to have mercy, and to forgive, 
and fit her for heaven. She had 
had many serious conversations with 
her pastor and pious friends, and the 
instructions which she received, she 
was in the habit of thinking over, for 
hours together, when she lay as if 
asleep. She was naturally very diffi- 
dent, and therefore did not express 
herself freely, except in answer to 
questions; so that it was not always 
easy to learn just the state of her 
mind. One day I said to her, 

" Catharine, do you feel as if you 
would be ready to die and meet God 


in judgment now if he should call you 
away ■ 

She looked up with great sweet- 
ness of expression, and said, that she 
had prayed to God to give her a new 
heart, and she thought he had. 

" Are you willing now to be in his 
hands, and let him do with you just 
as he pleases." 

"Yes," she said, "I am." 

"And would you not," I asked, 
" be glad to get well and go out of 
doors again?" 

"Oh yes ; I want to go to church, 
and to Sunday-school." 

But, my dear child, if you should 
get well, would you not be careless 
again about your soul, and forget 
these feelings that you have had while 
you have been sick?" - 
'" She said she felt now as if she 


should love God always, and try to 
please him. She loved to talk about 
lieaven, and especially to hear of the 
life and death of Jesus Christ, whom 
she looked upon now as the Saviour 
of her soul. 

In answer to other questions which 
I put to her, she said that it seemed 
to her a very wicked thing that she 
had sinned against God so many 
times and so much, and she felt very 
sorry that she had so often grieved 
her Heavenly Father. On this point 
she was very tender, and she took 
great delight in the thought that the 
God whom she had grieved was will- 
mg to forgive her for the sake of his 
Son, Christ Jesus. And it was the 
constant aim of her pastor and others 
who conversed with her to make this 
truth plain to her mind, and to im 


press it deeply on her heart. The 
evidence which she gave that she 
received the truth in the love of it. 
and trusted in it, was very comforting 
then, and is pleasant to think of now 
that she is gone to the other world. 

We do not pretend to say 7vhen it 
was that she was led by the H0I31 
Spirit to give herself up' to God 
Probably she could not herself teli 
the precise time. Nor is it very im- 
portant in her case or in that of 
others, to fix upon the very day o»^ 
the week when the heart was changed 
It is of more importance to know 
whether she showed the spirit of a- 
child who had truly turned from sin, 
and had come by faith to the Saviour. 
We have seen that she felt it to be an 
evil and wicked thing that she had 
sinned against God, her Father. She 


felt sorry on account of those sins, 
and she gave good evidence that her 
heart was pained in view of her past 
life, though no one else would have 
been able to point out any thing in 
her words or ways that would seem 
to be the occasion of grief. The 
Spirit of the Lord opened her eyes to 
see her state as a sinner, and then she 
saw how vile the heart must be in the 
sight of heaven. Then she desired 
to become holy, to be like God, and 
be prepared to go away into his pre- 
sence, to dwell with him for ever. 
But the most delightful evidence of a 
renewed heart which she gave at this 
time, was a gentle trust that Jesus 
Christ was able and willing to forgive 
sin, and a comfortable assurance that 
she had been accepted of him as one 
of the lambs of his fold. 


After these eight long months had 
worn away, it pleased God to give 
her the hope of returning health. 
Her parents and friends were flatter- 
ed with the thought that perhaps she 
might regain her strength, ' and be 
able to enjoy the bright world which 
she had loved so much in the days of 
her early childhood. But it was one 
long year from the time she was 
burned, before she was able to go out 
of the house. Think of that, you who 
love to enjoy the freedom of the 
streets and the fields ! Think of be- 
ing shut up a whole year in a single 
room! The bright days of spring 
came, with their sweet flowers to 
adorn the earth and shed their fra- 
grance on the balmy air; the warm 
summer came, inviting the young 
to go abroad in the fields; the 


autumn came, rejoicing in its fruits, 
the season, of all others, when chil- 
dren love to find their pleasure in 
the abundance of God's bounties 
which are spread around them ; but 
through all these seasons and the 
winter that followed, our little friend 
was confined to her one room, with 
out so much as a taste of the wide 
world around her. Think of her con- 
finement, you that are young and well, 
and let me ask you if you could be 
shut up, without a murmur, for a 
whole year. 

Catharine Howell did not murmur. 
She felt that it was the Lord who had 
afflicted her, and she was willing that 
he should afflict her as long and as 
much as he pleased. She learned, in 
the school of affliction, to lie in the 
hands of her Heavenly Father, just as 


she lay on her mother's knees to have 
her wounds dressed. She knew thaj 
it would give her great pain to have 
them torn open and cleansed, and 
that it was no pleasure to the kind 
physician or to her tender parents 
thus to add to her sore distress. But 
she also knew that it was for her 
good to have it done, and it was kind- 
ness in them to do it, and she yielded 
cheerfully to whatever they directed. 
So she bowed to the will of God, 
knowing just as well, that He desired 
to do her good, and that however 
painful her afflictions might be now., 
they were intended to prepare her for 
higher enjoyment hereafter. It was 
then sweet to submit to the right- 
eous dealings of the Lord, and to feel 
as Job did, when he said, " Though ho 
slay me yet will I trust in him." 


With the opening of the second 
spring, she was well enough to leave 
the house and breathe once more the 
sweet air of heaven. Her young heart 
swelled with gratitude and joy when 
she was thus permitted to behold, 
again, the world from which she had 
been so long excluded. She was still 
too feeble to walk, but her friends 
loved to take her to ride, that she 
might gather strength by going abroad, 
and that they might see the pleasu'^'e 
,vl\ich she took, in her quiet way, in 
looking out on the face of nature. 

It was with real delight that I 
welcomed her to my house, where 
she came the first time that she was 
able to ride out. But I was even 
more pleased when on the next Sab- 
bath I saw her in her place in the 
Sabbath-school, and those will not 


soon forget it who saw the sweet 
smile that lighted up her countenance, 
and disclosed the joy of her soul, 
when she was allowed to come back 
to the spot that she so much loved. 
Her case had excited so much in- 
terest in the school, and she had 
been so often made the subject of 
special prayer that God would spare 
her life and let her come again into 
the school, that we took occasion on 
that day to give public thanks to God 
that he had answered our prayers, 
and so far restored our dear little 
Catharine to health. 

On the fourth of July, 1844, the 
children of the Sabbath-school had a 
"celebration," or a meeting in the 
church for religious exercises, and 
then going out under the shade of some 
great trees, they took the refresh 


ments that had been provided. But 
among them all, happy as they were, 
there was not one that was so happy 
as our little Catharine. She could 
scarcely realize that she was once 
more one of that joyful company. 
She had long ago given up all thought 
of ever being able to go out again, but 
now she was permitted to meet and 
mingle with her young companions, 
and to enter into all the innocent 
pleasures provided for children that 
iove their Sabbath-school. 

For a few months she was well 
enough to go. out occasionally, and 
her friends loved to send for her to 
be amused with their children. She 
had not strength enough to enter into 
the sports of those of her own age, 
nor did she manifest any disposition 
to engage in them. When at home, 


or when out on a visit, she seemed 
inclined to sit down and quietly 
think, or read some good book, 
rather than to mingle in the plays of 
her companions, though she was al- 
ways pleased to see them in the midst 
of their enjoyments. 

She was always feeble after her 
confinement, and when we looked at 
her she seemed like a frail flower just 
ready to fall. And whether at home 
or abroad, in the company of children 
or alone, she now exhibited that meek 
and quiet spirit which belongs to one 
who is not long to be in this world. 

In the course of the summer her 
parents took her into the country, 
where she spent a few weeks, visiting 
her friends. There was a faint hope 
that a change of air and scene would 
revive her feeble frame, and perhaps 


establish her health. She was very 
happy, in her way, while she remain- 
ed here, and her friends were im- 
pressed continually with the evidence 
of her submissive spirit, that now 
shone in all her looks and words. 
Her thoughts seemed to be away 
from the things around her, and 
dwelling on something above. She 
said but very little. Indeed she 
never was inclined to be talkative, 
and the state of her mind was to be 
learned from her deportment rather 
than from any thing that fell from her 
lips. Yet no one could detect in her 
the least token of unhappiness or dis- 
content with her situation, or any 
feeling of impatience when she found 
that she was not to be able to partake 
of the pleasures which children seek 
after with so much delight. 


Her visit to the country disappoint- 
ed iier parents' liopes. She enjoyed 
the change greatly, and, at first, ap- 
peared to gather strength, but she 
soon declined again ; and when, in 
the fall, she came back to Newark, 
she was not materially better. 

It had now been settled in the 
minds of her parents, that Catha- 
rine would never get well. Her 
constitution was naturally delicate, 
and was evidently not sufficient to 
sustain the shock it had received. 
The gentle sufferer herself had long 
felt, what they were slow to learn ; 
and while they and we had been 
cherishing the hope that she might be 
raised to health and some measure 
of strength, she had been looking 
quietly and patiently to a better 
world as her home, where she should 


suffer no more for ever, but be happy 
always with God and the Lamb. 

Her hours of private prayer were 
sweet to her, for then she found 
Jesus precious to her soul, and she 
could tell him all that she felt, and 
find joy in the sweet return of his 
love. She told me that she loved to 
pray, and did pray when no one 
knew it; for she was so timid that 
probably she would have taken no 
comfort in trymg to pray, if she had 
thought that any one could hear her 
but her heavenly Father. 

One morning she was sitting on a 
high seat, and several of her little 
brothers and sisters were playing 
around her, when, by some careless- 
ness, her seat was overthrown, and 
she fell upon the floor, striking on 
her back, which was still sore, and 


where such a blow could not fail 
to be very dangerous. She was so 
badly hurt that she could not get up ; 
but being carried to her bed, she was 
there laid down, and she never left 
the room again. From this time she 
sunk very rapidly. All the symp- 
toms of a rapid decline were in- 
creased, and it was painfully evident 
that our little sufferer could not long 
be spared to us. 

A friend said to her when he first 
saw her, after this : 

"Do you feel willing now, my 
dear, to die ?" 

" Yes," she said feebly, and added 
that she thought God had forgiven 
her sins. She had prayed for a new 
heart, and she hoped that God had 
given her one, for she loved him now, 
and wanted to be with him. 


All her conversation, from this 
time, was very precious to her 
friends, as it showed that she had no 
expectation of getting well, but she 
was peaceful and happy, in the 
thought of going to heaven, to be 
for ever with the good in the presence 
of her Saviour. 

Some one of her country relatives 
not knowing how feeble she was, and 
thinking that she would perhaps be 
well enough to go out again, sent her 
a present of a new dress. Catharine 
looked at it with a feeling of pleasure^ 
at being thus remembered by those 
who were absent, and merely said, as 
she looked at it, " It is vertj pretty, 
hat I shall never wear it.'' We trust 
that she was soon clothed in white 
raiment, and admitted to the company 
of the redeemed. 


This little incident, though very 
trifling in itself, is a delightful evidence 
of the state of her mind. She could 
enjoy the world and the things that 
were in it; her friends and the spirits 
of her young companions ; she could 
look out of the window, and smile as 
she admired the beauty of what her 
eyes beheld, but she felt that she 
should never be permitted to have them 
as her own. She had bidden them 
all farewell, and was now looking for 
a better country, even an heavenly. 

Day after day her frail form was 
wasting away with the slow progress 
of disease. A cough set in, and the 
signs of consumption were appearing. 
But there was no need of a new 
disease to hasten her to the tomb. 
Death had marked her for his own, 
and who could stay his hand? 


On the seventh of January, 1845, 
she complained of her throat, that it 
was greatly stopped up, so that she 
found it very difficult to breathe. 
She asked for a drink, and her father 
hastened to bring it to her, saying, 
however, that he was afraid she could 
not swallow. The child made an 
attempt to do so, fell back on her 
pillow, and was dead ! 

It wanted but a few days of being 
two full years from the time she was 
ourned, to the day of her death. 
During a great part of these two 
years she suffered extreme pain, and 
she never enjoyed healtfi for a single 
moment in all that time. And what 
a great part of her life was thus 
spent in pain ! How few of those who 
read these pages ever passed a week 
in such distress as this child endured 


almost without ceasing, for manj 
months ! 

During much of this time her 
bodily anguish was so great that she 
was unable to fix her mind upon any 
religious subject, however earnestly 
they might be urged upon her atten- 
tion ; but the progress which she 
made in the knowledge of divine 
things was certainly extraordinary, 
when we remember the discourage- 
ments and trials which she endured. 
Her views of sin, the way to find 
pardon, and her need of the Saviour, 
were very clear for one of her age. 

And it is another proof that pa- 
rents do not generally bear in mind 
how very early their children may be 
taught by the Holy Spirit, and led to 
understand all the truths essential to 
the salvation of their precious souls 


How early, we will not undertake to 
say. But there are many examples 
of very early piety, and every year 
we meet with new instances of evi- 
dent conversion in the morning of 
life. These delightful facts should 
encourage us to sow the seed "in the 
morning" and to watch with faith 
to see it springing up to bear early 

Now I trust that those who have 
read this story of a child of sorrow, 
will not break off here, though the 
story is ended, and the remainder is 
to be taken up with some thoughts 
which! hope will be useful to my 
young readers.^ 

You see the great value of the 
Sabbath-school. It was there that 
Catharine learned those truths which 
we hope were the means of saving 


her soul. But it was the same in- 
struction which you have received 
and are now receiving from Sabbath 
to Sabbath, and which is so common 
and so often enjoyed, that you, per- 
haps, set little or no value upon it. 
You take your seat in the school and 
hear the word of God, and listen to 
the invitations of the Saviour, but 
you do not feel that the salvation of 
your soul is connected with the in- 
struction you are receiving. There 
Catharine was taught her sinfulness, 
though she was always a better girl 
than most of those are who will 
read this story. There she was 
taught, and there you are taught, that 
unless you forsake your sins and ob- 
tain forgiveness for the sake of Jesus 
Christ you cannot be saved. There 
you learn ihat the way to heaven is 


by the cross of Christ, and if chil- 
dren feel sorry for their sins and 
pray to God to pardon them, the Sa- 
viour loves to hear their prayers, and 
will have mercy upon them, and 
adopt them into his own family, call 
them his own children, and prepare 
them to come, when they die, to the 
mansions he has made ready for them 
in heaven. Many, very many chil- 
dren have, like Catharine, been thus 
taught of God, and some of them 
have gone to glory, and others are 
now devoted Christians, teaching 
others still to follow in their stepsi, and 
trying to win them to the Savioui 
they love. We may indulge the 
hope that Catharine Howell was, by 
the power of the truths she learned 
in the Snbbath-school, led to the Sa- 
viour, and that she is now in heaven, 


in the arms of Him whom she loved 
Her voice will no more mingle with 
the living voices of the Sabbath- 
school children, but we hope it is 
making sweeter music in the songs 
of the redeemed. Out of the mouth 
of such babes is the praise of the Sa^ 
vieur made perfect. 

In the example of Catharine How- 
ell, you may learn the duty of pa- 
tience under suffering. Fretfulness 
never makes pain easier, and often 
increases it. And when you are 
fretful and peevish, you are very dis- 
agreeable to those who have to take 
care of you. It is always painful 
enough for parents to nurse their 
children when sick, even if they arc 
ever so good ; and it is ungrateful 
and cruel in children to make their 
parents' labours more distressing by 


constantly complaining. And yet it is 
a fact that they do often fret and find 
fault, when those who love them are 
trying to do all in their power to relieve 
their pain and make them happy. 

I wish my young friends could 
have seen Catharine Howell when 
she was lying on her little cot, with 
the frame-work over her to hold up 
the covering, so that its weight should 
not press on her dreadful burns! 
There was an example of patience. 
And if you could have seen her in 
the midst of her distress, you would 
think it a very small matter to bear 
the pains that now and then you have 
to endure. And I have no doubt 
;here are many children who fret 
nore under a sore finger, than this 
i^ar child did when she was almost 
i urnt up alive. 


Learn to be thankful to God that 
he preserves you from such a dread- 
ful calamity as came upon Catharine. 
You ought to be very careful, espe- 
cially in the winter when you have 
lires in the house, never to go too 
near them. At school or at home, 
whether the teacher or your parents 
are with you or not, never, on any 
account, play with jirt. Children 
are very fond of this amusement, but 
they often set the house or their 
clothes on fire, and thus bring great 
distress on themselves and others. 
But if you have been kept from such 
trials as Catharine's, and your life 
and health are spared, that you may 
go to church and the Sunday-school, 
you should be thankful to God for 
his goodness, and give your hearts to 
him without delay. 


We see in this sad tale of suffer- 
ing:, how God can cause afflictions to 
prove rich blessings to those who 
bear them. It was on this bed of 
wretchedness that the Saviour bless- 
ed Catharine's soul with his grace. 
She had been thoughtful before, but 
when she was brought low with se- 
vere sxififering, she saw herself as she 
had never seen herself before — a sin- 
ner before God ; and when this dis- 
covery was made she was anxious 
to be holy, and to be prepared for 
heaven. Even aged Christians often 
speak of afflictions as the means of 
purifying them and fitting them for 
the presence and enjoyment of God. 
This dear girl was early called to 
pass through tribulation, and it is a 
source of great consolation to her 
friends that she was so blessed of 


God in the depths of her distress 
Perhaps God may see fit to lay upon 
you hirafflicting hand. If he tninks 
it for your good, he will. Perhaps 
he will take away some of your com- 
forts — he may send sickness upon 
you, or remove your friends. Your 
parents may die, or you may be re- 
duced to extreme poverty, so that 
you vvill have many days of sorrow 
and distress, but you should bear in 
mind that all these things may be 
the good gifts of God, designed for 
your benefit, and if they are im- 
proved as they ought to be, they ma^ 
be the means of saving your soul. 
If, in the morning of your days, you 
should give your heart to the Sa- 
viour, and thus grow up for his 
service, it will be well with you, 
whatever may be your lot in life.